2014 stands out as an odd year for me, mainly because I stayed home most of it. From January until October I took a self-imposed sabbatical in which I barely ventured out to perform or speak. Instead I used the time to research and create. As a performer, I need an audience to respond, so sitting in my little study, avoiding most social media, just researching, well it felt like being in a coma. Still getting off the performance grid grounded me in the new work I pursued.
In 2014 I turned my attention to Climate Change. I also learned the reality that most people want NOTHING to do with climate change talk. Seriously, I start talking to some people about the work I have begun, and they glaze over. I think they would be happier if I told them instead about my latest bowel movement. (Don’t ask, I will tell.) As a performer who likes to get lots of positive attention from enthusiastic audiences, why on earth was I choosing a topic that NO ONE wants to hear???
During my sabbatical I wanted to know more about climate change both the science and the social justice issues connected with it. I also wanted to learn effective strategies for talking to people about climate change. I had big strange questions rattling around my brain:
What is a Queer Response to Climate Change?
What’s Faith Got to Do with It?
What’s Funny about Global Warming?
These questions stimulated my thinking and provoked many conversations with friends and with my husband, Glen.
Perhaps some issues choose us. I guess that is how I feel about climate change. It latched onto me like a leech demanding my attention–my performance blood. And it is not the science or the policy that draws me (zzzzzzzz) rather I think about the many human aspects of climate change I never realized before–how those people and groups of people who are already most vulnerable in the world become even more vulnerable on a changing planet.
Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Climate change will put pressure on the many existing pressure points of disparity, inequality, and oppression. All the more reason to get our house in order, to shore up rights and protections for LGBTQ people, to forcefully address the violence and oppressive system that affects people of color in the USA, and to seriously look at poverty in the world and the many personal, political, and global problems it creates.
Still I feel hope. We have the opportunity to create a better society. There is still hope for the future. That is what I am pursuing in my work and what I will pursue in 2015 as I present throughout North America and through the Climate Stew Show.